We’ve been located in the heart of Hampstead since we opened La Gaffe, many decades ago, and we feel privileged to live in our neighbourhood, for sure.

But make no mistake about it, it’s not just where we’re located in north London that’s such a draw.  In fact, there are endless areas around us that are well worth exploring, if you have a free couple of hours.  And one of them is Camden Lock, a gem of a place just three stops from us on the London Underground.

Next to the lock sits Camden Market, one of the top attractions in the capital, and a magnet for tourists and young people.  It’s full of stalls, stores and street food stands and at the weekends it can get jam-packed. 

But at its edge sits the Regents Canal, which runs from east to west London, and this part of it is fondly known as ‘Camden Lock’. It’s a wonderful place to walk, jog and stroll - and whether you walk east- in the direction of  Victoria Park or west,n the direction of Regents Park - we defy you not to be bowled over by its charm.

For anyone that’s unsure, a canal lock is a part of a waterway that helps boats travel along (raising or lowering the water level, as necessary) and the one at Camden Town isn’t just visible but operational, since not only are their boats you can buy tickets on for tourist journeys, but the canal is also used by many boat owners, who actually live on their vessels, year round.

Historically, of course, this entire canal was used to transport enormous quantities of coal, timber and food in and out of London - from the time it was established in 1820, up until the mid 1960’s (when large lorries took over).  

Like every other stretch of the Regent’s Canal, the part that runs from Camden all the way to Maida Vale is utterly picturesque and it’s hard to believe you’re in a world city, as you walk along the paths.  London is an incredibly green city by any standards (a great combination of parks and rain!)

If, for example, you walk west, you’ll pass by Primrose Hill, the London Zoo and the beautiful Regent’s Park before arriving at Little Venice in Maida Vale.   If you head east, you’ll wander through trendy Kings Cross’s Coal Drops Yard, via hipster Haggerton and end up in Limehouse next to the River Thames.

What makes this canal even better is it’s a flat path, and very easy to walk along.  And whilst there might be moments of solitude, the fact is that it’s very popular…whatever ‘section’ of it you’re in.  

The entire walk comes in at about 13 km (9 miles) but, of course, you can pick and choose how long a stroll you feel like.  Even better, there are cafes and eateries along the route, and even a fabulous bookshop, aptly named ‘Word on the Water’ which is actually located on a barge.

The Camden lock area is also a great place for kids to learn how to canoe and kayak and paddleboard - so don’t be surprised if you see groups of teeangers messing about on the water, with instructors supervising them!   

You can also buy tickets for the London Waterbus, if you feel like cruising up the water, watching the world go by or, of course, head off into the market for a spot of retail therapy.

For anyone in London that yearns for some greenery and water, without having to leave the city, it’s a wonderful place to escape, which is why (when you stroll along it) as well as many tourists, you’ll notice that it’s full of locals, cycling to work, meeting friends or simply spending some quality time with themselves!  

If you’re coming to visit the British capital and looking for a place to rest your weary head, then look no further - our comfortable Hampstead hotel in leafy north London is both family-owned and family-run and we’re known for our warm welcomes and our famous cappuccinos.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by email or phone if you’d like further information, or book directly with us at our website for the best rates.